The University's long-awaited five-year planning report, to be published today for public comment, details almost 50 specific objectives, ranging from constructing five new buildings to bringing in an outside panel to examine undergraduate education. The report is divided up into seven sections -- research, undergraduate education, doctoral education, professional education, libraries and computing, internationalization, and campus environment -- all focusing on what the report says are the four major "challenges" facing the University in the 1990's: · Sustaining preeminence in research. The report predicts sharply escalating costs and increased competition in research fields. It warns of a "reordering" of the nation's leading research universities, and calls for streamlining and improved financing for programs. "Those [universities] that cannot compete -- cannot pay competitive salaries, cannot fund graduate students, cannot make the capital-intensive investments that modern research requires -- will find themselves outdistanced by better-funded rivals," the report says. Among the proposals to keep research competitive, the report says the University intends to construct four new buildings -- an Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, a life sciences facility, a clinical and research building for the Dental School and a new Law Library. It also says awards by the University's Research Foundation will be doubled and officials will make special efforts to give them to humanities and social sciences faculty and junior faculty. · Strenghthening teaching and learning. The report says that major universities must find ways to design educational programs that "better sustain the intellectual curiosity and intensity of their students." It states that the University has already taken steps in that direction, but calls on the administration to extend efforts by further reviewing undergraduate, graduate and professional programs and emphasizing the importance of teaching. "There is a general call for the nation's leading universities to reaffirm that teaching is central to their mission, a new willingness to say out loud that good teaching depends on renewed efforts to see the world whole again," the study states. The report says that officials will bring in an external committee of distinguished scholars to work directly with undergraduate schools and faculties to strengthen undergraduate education. It also says that an Undergraduate Initiatives Fund will be established to provide incentives for good teaching, and reiterates pledges to establish new endowed chairs. To improve graduate education, it encourages that faculty take a more active role in the students' academic career and that students' progress be reviewed after five years of study. It also says the money for graduate student fellowships will be increased "substantially," with funds from the central administration and the individual schools. Additionally, the report says the liberal arts requirements of professional study will be intensified. · Building an "inclusive" community. According to the plan, the University must work to become "substantially" more diverse in its membership and reemphasize its commitment to "scholarly and social civility." It also calls for integration of the University's diverse population. "[A]ll members of the University community need to search out occasions for extolling diversity, making it central to their social and intellectual definitions of the University and to all aspects of campus life," the plan says. Throughout, the report says that both minority faculty and minority student presence on campus must be increased. To that end, it says new fellowship funds for minority students will be provided and intensive efforts will be made to recruit minority faculty. It also says East Asian and African studies programs will be strengthened. · Educating and recruiting a new generation of faculty. The "most far-reaching challenge" to the University is maintaining the quality of its faculty, the report states. It warns that more than 230 of the school's most senior and distinguished faculty are expected to retire in the next ten years and says the College will be hardest hit. It calls for increased recruiting efforts and fostering of current faculty members. "Leadership in the next century will come to those institutions that prove most able to train a new generation of scholar-teachers," it says. Among other plans in the report: · Establishing a telecommunications system to provide access to foreign language broadcasts and to allow the University to participate in international teleconferences. · Making the University part of an international network of major research universities. President Sheldon Hackney said yesterday that he was pleased with the result of the two year effort, adding that he felt the "bottom up" approach of assembling the plan -- in which committees examined specific areas that were debated by the community and then synthesized into the report -- has proved effective. Once adopted, the report will be an "active" plan which will be constantly referred to and, if necessary, revised to meet new needs, Hackney said. "When this is adopted, we will then ask the schools to rework their own five-year plans in light of this University-wide plan," he added. Provost Michael Aiken, who coordinated the planning effort, was not available for comment yesterday. Officials released the copy of the report today to solicit comment from the community. All comments are to be submitted by November 2 and the final report will be issued before the end of the semester.Comments powered by Disqus
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